St. Maarten Parliament adopts motion against Bosman draft law to restrict access to the Netherlands

POSTED: 09/4/13 1:21 PM

St. Maarten – Slavery, the Second World War, Martin Luther King, discrimination – all these topics rolled around yesterday morning when the parliament discussed the Bosman initiative-law to limit the access of citizens from St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba to the Netherlands. The parliament unanimously supported a motion, signed by ten MPs, to reject the Bosman law.

In the motion, the parliament also urged the government “to make every effort” to ensure that Bosman’s proposal does not become law and to inform the relevant international organizations about the Bosman-law.

The motion, tabled by DP faction leader Roy Marlin, points out that the 1954 Kingdom Charter has opted for one unified Dutch nationality “whereby for the establishment of the nationality no distinction is drawn of origin or loyalty to a country of the Kingdom.”

The motion points out that the draft Bosman-law does make this distinction, “whereby the establishment in the Netherlands of Dutch citizens from Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten is restricted.”

The motion states that this is “in flagrant conflict with the current provisions on international conventions to which the Netherlands is bound.” Furthermore, according to the motion, the draft law violates the principle of equal treatment, the ban on discrimination and the right to freely travel and to stay on the territory of the EU-member states. As such, the draft law violates article 1 of the constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

“No objective and reasonable justification exists for discrimination between the Dutch citizens of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten on the one hand and Dutch citizens of the Netherlands, non-Dutch citizens of the European Union and foreigners from non-EU member states on the other hand,” the motion states.

The Parliament of the former Netherlands Antilles has expressed on many occasions “its disapproval of earlier unilateral policy measures from the Netherlands that intended to realize a legal regulation of admission and residence of Antillean Dutch citizens,” the motion states. The Parliament of St. Maarten “wishes to ratify the position adopted earlier by the Parliament of the then Netherlands Antilles.”

MP Marlin dismissed a media statement by Bosman that referred to a 1974 Kingdom law that ratified a human rights protocol that, in turn says there will no restrictions on free movement and at the same time gives countries the right to impose restrictions. “This shows the racism in Bosman,” Marlin said.

The MP reiterated that Dutch citizens coming to St. Maarten are admitted by right and that no one is turned down. “Nowadays it has become normal that they just come here and reside on the island. Nobody bothers them.”

UP-MP Jules James labeled the initiative-law as “pure discrimination,” as “racial and hypocritical” and an example of “very narrow-minded thinking.”

Independent MP Patrick Illidge said the draft law is “disgraceful” and that he had “not asked to be a part of the Kingdom.”

MP Leroy de Weever said that he felt ashamed for the Dutch people, because “in their midst the racism and apartheid and the prosecution of our people is raising its head. I feel that just as we have had the diary of Anne Frank, we will have one day the diary of an Antillean, the persecution of our people.”

De Weever said that St. Maarten ought to learn from this experience. “Let’s take it back to where it came from. We aren’t Antilleans but we are St. Maarteners. We must find a way so that we no longer have to be called a member of the Kingdom. I do not want to go down that alley of being a racist, but a Dutchman is a man with white skin and blue eyes.”

MP De Weever proposed to rename the roundabout near the Sundial School the Nelson Mandela roundabout. “So that every time we look at it we will seek Bosman’s naked eyes staring at us.”

UP-MP Johan Leonard noted that Bosman “is making the Netherlands the laughing stock of Europe.” He announced that he will request a debate on reparation for slavery.

NA-MP Hyacinth Richardson took a different approach: “We need to get a little bit in Mr. Bosman’s head. We have to remain vigilant, we have to continue to be strong and proud of our heritage and try not to let people like them make us angry and mad and become haters. I would like to pray for Mr. Bosman that he will be a better person and see all mankind as equal. Unless he develops these kinds of qualities he will always be a lesser person for me.”

NA-MP Lloyd Richardson referred to the Dutch as business people. “They deal with money. Such has been their attitude during the slavery, when we became country and we don’t expect their attitude to change.”

UP-MP Ruth Douglass had made an effort to look into Bosman’s background, where she discovered this statement: “You must dare to express your dreams and follow them” and that, of all people, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is his role model.

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